Marion church to celebrate centennial on Sunday

The Emmanuel Baptist Church, Marion, will be celebrating their centennial year Sunday, Sept. 10.

The worship service will begin at 10:30 a.m. with special music from Diane Palombara, Cowlesville, N.Y. Philip Yntema, executive director of the North American Baptist Conference, will be the guest speaker.

The Sunday School time will be used for fellowship.

A catered lunch will follow the worship service. A donation of $6.50 is suggested, but pastor Bill Sherfy said no one will be turned away.

At 2 p.m. the new addition of the church will be dedicated, and former pastors will be given an opportunity to share their comments in an informal service.

Sherfy and his wife, Leilani, have served the Marion church for eight years. He said when the couple first came, there were about 60 members. Now it has grown to an average of 120 people on Sunday mornings.

“I have seen this church develop a real love for people,” Sherfy said. “This is what we were looking for.”

Ralph Popp, Marion, has attended the church since he was two years of age, which makes him the longest attending member of the congregation.

“I was gone for a little over three years,” said Popp, “while I went to the army during WW II, but I came back and have been here ever since.”

According to Popp, this church was organized as an affiliate of the Ebenfeld Mennonite Brethren Church in the late 1800s. It was accepted into the Association of German Baptists, presently under the name of North American Baptist.

Due to the German heritage, the church found some criticism and a few isolated ethnic acts during WWI and WWII. It was decided there would be no more use of German language after Dec. 15, 1941.

In 1945 the name was changed to Emmanuel Baptist church. A church member wanting to do a good deed in an inconspicuous manner had the corner stone sandblasted to cut away “German Baptist” and to read “Emmanuel Baptist,” but Emmanuel was spelled incorrectly using an “I.” With no room for the correction, that is how it reads to this day.

The public is invited to attend the celebration/dedication.

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